Have these people never heard of the Internet?

April 30, 2006

I'm really surprised by some of the descriptions of hikers in this article that appeared in the local newspaper this morning. It describes how the staff at Mountain Crossings, the outfitter and hostel at Neels Gap, Ga., help Appalachian Trail thru-hikers shake out their gear in the first few days of their hike.

Here's an example:

"It had taken the Bentleys six days to hike from Springer Mountain to Mountain Crossings. At the beginning, Jim's pack weighed 65 pounds, and he suffered mightily for it."

Um, that's 32 miles in six days.

I hope the Bentley family gets their hiking legs on and starts adding a few more miles to their day. If you average less than six miles a day, you'll finish the AT in what, never?

It says he suffered mightily under a pack weighing 65 pounds. Ya think?

Before I'm accused of being an ultralight snob, my pack base weight is no where near as light as some hikers. But 65 pounds?!

People, try doing a little research into what it takes to hike more than 2100 miles before you hit the trail. Try the Internet, for instance. Supposedly there's a lot of information to be found there.

Oh, and while I'm ranting, I can't believe the News-Sentinel used a large, closeup photo of a dirty, nasty blister on a hiker's toe to promote this story on the front page of the Sunday paper.

Maybe I don't know anything about the newspaper business, but did they think an oozing blister would sell more newspapers? 


Okay, end of rant. 


Readiness reading

April 28, 2006

Retired reference librarian, avid hiker and chocolate aficionado Linda "eArThworm" Patton has assembled a nice collection of wilderness first aid books.


Are they kidding?!

April 27, 2006

Explore the Smoky Mountains without leaving the car

That's just sad. 

Worth a closer look

April 21, 2006

I'm in a hurry to get out the door and on my way to Hiawassee, Ga., but I made the mistake of checking my email before I left.

In a message to the AT-L mailing list, Richard "Pittsburgh" Mann points out what looks to be a cool new Web site, Trailposts.com.

I'm going to have to take another look at that when I get a chance. It seems to be a combination Google map mashup and trail journal site.

Except it doesn't use Google maps. And it isn't just a place for trail journals, either. It seems to be a collaborative site where hikers can pass information about the trail.

Here's a description in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

Maybe it's just interesting to a Web geek like me, but I do want to investigate this further.

Trail town fun

April 21, 2006

Hot Springs, N.C., is celebrating the AT this weekend with a festival called Trailfest.

If I wasn't going to Hiawassee I might want to check it out. Hot Springs is a nice little town and the trail goes right down the main drag.

Learning the light way

April 19, 2006
Philmont badge

When I was 15 years old I traveled with my Boy Scout troop on the Denver Zephyr (for all you youngsters, that's a passenger train) from Chicago. Upon arrival in Denver we boarded a bus and headed to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

That was the beginning of 10 days that made a big impact on me, shaping my life in countless ways.

But I'm not going to wax on about that here.

I only bring it up because I came across today a new article at BackpackingLight.com. It provides a lightweight gear list for backpacking at Philmont. I'm sure, though, the information is useful for anyone planning a multi-day trip, particularly in the West.

Oh, how I wish we had such a gear list back in 1971. Most of the gear we use today didn't exist then.

The sleeping bag and canvas tent alone weighed much more than what my entire pack will weigh on my trip this summer to the Chicago Basin in Colorado.

An opportunity to help complete a big project

April 19, 2006

I received the following message this morning and thought it was worth sharing:

To all CTC volunteers,

On April 26-May 2, 2006, the Cumberland Trail Conference is having a spring trail building program. This program will take place at Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee and will be a back-country outing. We will be back-packing from Frozen Head State Park up to Ross Gap and setting up a base-camp in the area and working out of the base camp. The hike will be approximately 3 miles with a significant elevation change, so this would be considered a strenuous hike. The program will mainly be new trail building. All participants will need the necessary back-country camping gear (pack, tent, rain gear, etc…). The Cumberland Trail Conference will provide the water and food for three meals a day and the necessary tools. Due to the remote location and the hike necessary to get to the work-site, this program is not suited for one day participation. Interested volunteers should consider working for at least 2 days. This is a great opportunity to camp and work in a very scenic area of the Cumberland Plateau, make new friends, and complete another section of the Cumberland Trail. For further information or to sign-up, I can be contacted at tony.hook@frontiernet.net or at 931-456-6259. I want to thank each of you for your past volunteer support and to please visit the CTC web site, www.cumberlandtrail.org for information on Big Dig 2006 and future volunteer opportunities.

thank you,
Tony Hook
Cumberland Trail maintenance/volunteer coordinator

I have helped in constructing a couple small sections of this trail, including a portion of the trail in Frozen Head SP, and found it rewarding work. It's a good feeling to give back to the hiking community in this way.